While high school basketball is just popping off in a lot of states, it’s been going on for a minute now in North Carolina. Schools have been playing for a month now and the infinite amount of ridiculously talented private schools have been playing even longer, given that they have no governing body. Rick Lewis and Jamie Shaw put on the national showcase last month and followed it up with the Phenom Hoops winter showcase.
Packing a sold out crowd into Millbrook High, the Winter Showcase brought a blend of elite prospects, defending state champions, and strong local teams to the fold. There was a lot on the line for local bragging rights and it definitely showed in the play, making it a fun event to cover. Toss in the way that the Phenom Hoops crew takes care of the media with accurate roster books and a ridiculous hospitality room, it’s easy to see why any college coach or scout would be in heaven.
Here are a few of the top guys from the Phenom Hoops Winter Showcase:
Chris Clemons, 5-9, PG, Millbrook (NC), 2015
What Chris Clemons lacks in height, he undoubtedly makes up for in the heart department. Matched up with top-5 junior Dennis Smith Jr., he showed no fear whatsoever. In fact, he went right at the heralded junior en route to scoring 35 points in Millbrook’s decisive win. He shot the lights out from beyond the arc, threw down a number of dunks in transition, and was a threat to score every time that he had the rock. Look for this Campbell steal to lead a Millbrook squad that is expected to compete for the state title in North Carolina.
Dennis Smith Jr, 6-2, PG, Trinity Christian (NC), 2016
In one of the more unique coaching moves that we saw all year, Millbrook head coach Scott McInnes opted to have Jordan Sterrett face-guard Dennis Smith Jr throughout the entire game, then running a second defender at him every time he got the rock. It was truly some Steph Curry type-stuff from his Davidson days. Though Milbrook won decisively and definitely frustrated Junior at times, he was still able to show his absurd talent. He sent the gym into a craze with his two-handed block, hit a number of threes from NBA range, and constantly beat Millbrook’s deadly press. It wasn’t the best game for Junior, but he still showed fans glimpses of why he’s the best lead guard in the country.
Mark Gilbert, 6-2, PG/SG, Terry Sanford (NC), 2016
A lefty who can straight get buckets, Gilbert was the primary scoring threat for a gritty Terry Sanford squad. He shot the lights out of it from deep, pulled up off of the bounce, Gilbert has all of the makings of a really nice point guard down the road and is no doubt one of the sleepers in NC’s junior class.
Kentrell Barkley, 6-5, SF, Northern Durham (NC), 2015
While that name may be familiar for a certain incident with Hornets two-guard PJ Hairston, those in high school basketball circles know that Kentrell Barkley can really ball. Playing alongside Thon Maker on the AAU circuit for Team Loaded, Barkley emerged on the national level this spring and continued his strong play back in the Bull City. The high energy forward was a monster on the glass, was an inside/out threat to score the ball, and had the versatility to defend multiple positions.
Mac Brydon, 6-10, C, Carmel Christian (NC), 2016
The most massive big man that we saw all day, Big Mac stood every bit of 6’10 and 275 pounds. Surprisingly enough, the big fella was quite nimble on his feet, rebounded his area well, and showed off a pair of soft hands. Add in some nice feet and you see why he has the makings of a legit D-1 center.